In the 2018 midterm election, registered Dare voters will cast ballots for the offices listed below. All voters, regardless of which town they live in, will be able to vote for all open seats on the Board of Commissioners and the Board of Education.

Candidates for state and county offices, 2018 primary and general elections

2018 Democratic candidates for office

Tess Judge, N.C. House District 6

Tess Judge is a local businesswoman whose long career in hospitality management is matched only by her history of public service and charitable work within our community. Her decision to run comes from believing not only that “our people are our greatest resource” but also that they “deserve a tireless representative who will listen, be responsive to their concerns, and provide timely constituent services.”

Tess has the experience and passion to be an effective voice in Raleigh. She will advocate for what the people of Northeastern North Carolina deserve—more educational opportunities, more access to health care, and more money in their pockets.

Investing in education and job training will be important themes for Tess’s campaign. “For years,” she says, “we have asked our great teachers to do more with less and underfunded our schools and community colleges.” She continues, “I’m running to ensure that our investments in public education result in more opportunities for our students and a workforce trained for the jobs of the future.”

As someone who has operated small businesses in the community for years—through good times and bad—Tess knows how to manage a budget while also creating jobs. She has also served on the Board of Directors of the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce. With that combination of experience, she intends to “work with businesses, local governments, and community organizations to bring economic development and good-paying jobs to the area.”

Tess understands that fishing, farming, and tourism are vital to our district, and she will champion the protection of our land and water resources to ensure those industries remain viable and continue to sustain our economy.

In 2011, Tess and her late husband, Warren, were named Co-Citizens of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce. She is involved in many volunteer and community organizations supporting children and older adults. She also currently serves on the Board of the Outer Banks Hospital and is Chair of the Outer Banks Hospital Development Council, among many more.

Born and raised in Charlottesville, VA, Tess moved here with Warren from Jamestown, NC, in 1989. She has four children and ten grandchildren.

Tess has taken on prominent leadership roles within her church and diocese. She now serves on the Executive Council of the National Episcopal Church and the Diocese of East Carolina.

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Ervin Bateman, Board of Commissioners, At Large Seat

Ervin Bateman is distinctively qualified to represent both the business and the human interests of Dare County. Not only does he own and operate two well-known Dare businesses, he also has a long history of service—to the Town of Kitty Hawk and to people throughout the county who need special support.

Ervin strongly believes Dare’s greatest asset is the people who live and work within its communities. As the owner of the Sugar Creek Restaurant and the Sugar Shack Seafood Market and Restaurant, he annually employs more than 100 people in jobs that pay above the minimum wage. He also is an advocate of expanding the College of the Albemarle to include training for jobs and trades.

Ervin is a staunch proponent of Dare’s one-billion-dollar tourism industry and the commercial fishing that fuels so much of it. As both a licensed fish dealer and a concerned citizen, he well knows the threats posed by offshore drilling and fiercely opposes it.

In addition to being in tune with the business community, Ervin knows what it takes to be a public servant and a good steward of taxpayer money. He’s devoted 25 years to serving the Town of Kitty Hawk—as a mayor pro-tem, a town councilman, and a member of the Planning Board and the Recreation Committee. His public service also includes the Outer Banks Visitor Bureau.

Ervin’s allegiance to the people and prospects of Dare County stems from his family roots that go back six generations. He even lives in the same Kitty Hawk neighborhood his great-grandfather did.

His loyalty to the Outer Banks factored heavily into Ervin’s co-founding of the Outer Banks Relief Foundation. The charitable institution, which aids people facing debilitating disease or crisis, has contributed $1.6 million to people throughout Dare County. A reliable source of revenue for the foundation—and for the Dare Education Foundation—is the annual Outer Banks Marathon. Ervin is part of the marathon’s original organizing committee and a co-founder of Outer Banks Sporting Events. Both the marathon and other sporting events bring significant revenue to our local economy.

Ervin is also a fundraiser for Room in the Inn, a nonprofit, church-based program that helps the homeless in Dare County. As a grateful member of the recovery community, he is especially concerned about the lives being lost to the opioid epidemic. He supports Dare Challenge, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, and is a member of the Saving Lives Task Force. As commissioner, Ervin will favor establishing a Drug Rehabilitation Court in Dare County.

“I want to be engaged in initiatives to make Dare County the best it can be,” says Ervin. He supports open roads and inlets (particularly Oregon and Hatteras inlets), beach nourishment, and open, responsive government. He also supports an Early College Program that allows high-school students to earn college credits.

Ervin intends to “work tirelessly for all the people of Dare County—for those who own businesses and those who make them run day after day.”

Ervin and his wife, Teresa, have been married for 44 years. They have one son, Jonathan, and attend Liberty Christian Church. For fun, Ervin enjoys water sports and boxing. He is also a runner and cyclist.



Jennifer “Jen” Alexander, Board of Education, District 2

Jen Alexander has long been an energetic and committed advocate for children. A licensed clinical social worker, she has worked with Dare schools as both a mental health consultant and a graduate teaching assistant. For the past four years, she has also served on the Executive Committee for the Parent Teacher Organizations at her two daughters’ schools.

Jen advocates for the “whole child.” Her goals are to foster resiliency and well-being in our communities’ children and work to ensure they can learn within a safe school environment.

Along with advocacy, Jen is committed to listening and transparency. She is eager to hear and consider what Dare teachers, students, and parents have to say. For her, maintaining open channels of communication is crucial to making the true stakeholders in our children’s education aware of—and able to influence—Board policies and decisions.

Along with her husband, Gary, Jen has resided in Colington for 15 years. Their daughters, ages eight and ten, attend Dare County Schools. Jen, herself, attended public schools throughout her life. She earned her Bachelors’ degree at Virginia Tech, where she double majored in Political Science and International Studies. She then gained her Master of Social Work from Radford University.

Jen is an involved parent, deeply invested in our schools. As part of the PTOs at her girls’ schools, she has raised funds for needed supplies, technological applications, and other resources. She has shown her commitment to advocating for children and the community, constantly striving to live by her alma mater’s motto, Ut Protism—“That I may serve.”

During her free time, Jen is active with her family and the two dogs and two cats they adopted. She can often be found cheering on her children, who dance, do gymnastics, and play softball, basketball, and soccer.

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Vanzolla McMurren, Register of Deeds

Vanzolla McMurren has a remarkable history in the Office of the Register of Deeds—one that says volumes about her character, experience, and work ethic. She won her current seat as Dare County’s Register of Deeds in 2009, after spending 28 years working her way up through the ranks of the office.

Today, Vanzolla has 37 years of experience with the Register of Deeds office. She has mastered all the responsibilities required by the General Statutes of North Carolina. Specifically, Vanzolla ensures the integrity, completeness, accuracy, and safekeeping of all public records pertaining to Dare County. These include birth and death records, marriage licenses, powers of attorney, real-estate deeds, deeds of trusts, subdivision and survey plats, and partnership and assumed names. Her office also maintains Dare County Board of Commissioners’ meeting files, Dare County Airport Authority minutes, and military discharge records. And, she administers oaths to Notaries of Public.

During the past nine years, Vanzolla has kept customer service at the forefront of her priorities. She and her staff are dedicated to maintaining the office’s integrity and providing visitors—both regulars and first-timers—with prompt, accurate, and friendly service.

At the same time, and often with constrained budgets, Vanzolla has introduced and upgraded technologies that have kept Dare County at the forefront of registers’ offices across North Carolina. The marriage-license kiosk she introduced lets couples enter their personal information online and send it directly to her office. With weddings being big business on the Outer Banks, the kiosk goes a long way to ensuring couples have a simple, stress-free experience here. Vanzolla has also introduced new technology for scanning plats as soon as they’re recorded. In addition, she’s made it easier for people to review and scan vital records in the “vault” and see indexing information online.

Vanzolla is has been certified as Register of Deeds by the University of North Carolina Institute of Government. She is a member of the North Carolina Association of Register of Deeds, and her peers have appointed her to sit on the Vital Records Committee for the Register of Deeds, District 8.